He was sitting in the Dunkin’ Donuts in Chatham Township, where he works as the evening manager. The people he is helping live in Nepal, when he was born and lived until 2005, when he came to the United States.
Ang, who grew up in Bumburi, in the foothills of the Himalayas, and his wife Lhakpa Langji, will return to Nepal on Sunday, July 28, to continue their work with Moving Mountains Trust – Nepal. For about three months, Ang, who is president of Moving Mountains Trust – Nepal, will help oversee a group of volunteers from Bristol University and other places in the United Kingdom, as they run a free medical camp, help build schools and a foundation for a medical clinic, work on hydroelectric water projects and more, all in the Bumburi, Bupsa and surrounding villages in the Solu-Khumbu region of the Nepalese Himalayas. It’s something he does almost every year.
The medical camps will provide free medical care for people living in that area, he said.
The students, some of whom are medical and dental students and others who have non-medical skills, will run two camps, in two different places. One will be open for five days, the second for seven and, if experience is any guide, he said he expects that between the two communities, they will serve “between 1,000 and 1,500 people.” Mostly they will provide dental care, do check ups, including on pregnant women, and perform minor surgeries, he said. After running the camps, the students will go on a trek toward Mt. Everest, he said.
Another group of volunteers will build the concrete floor of a small, “four-meter by four-meter medical clinic” which will be built as the money is raised by the trust. The trust, which is based in Belfast, Ireland, has raised about 6,000 pounds for the clinic, which should be enough for the walls, windows, roof and a door, he said. After that, still more money needs to be raised, to finish the interior and equip the clinic, he said. Those volunteers will also go on a trek before heading home.
Ang said one of his dreams is to have his children, he has two sons in college and a daughter, who just graduated high school, volunteer at the medical clinic when it is done.
The non-governmental organization, NGO, is a registered charity in the United Kingdom and Nepal, he said and the group’s administrative costs are paid by Adventure Alternative, founded in 1991 by Gavin Bate, a mountain climber and world traveler. He is also the founder of the Moving Mountains Trust, which has a presence in Nepal, Kenya and Borneo.
Bate, who reached the Summit of Mt. Everest on his sixth try in 2012, while climbing with Ang’s brother-in-law, Pasang Tendi Sherpa, linked his love of adventure to raising funds to give local residents the means to help provide education, medical care and other needs to people in their area.
Pasang, who is indeed one of the legendary Sherpas of the Himalayas, has reached the summit of Mt. Everest three times, Ang said, adding, he had not climbed Mt. Everest, “I’m a good guide, but I’m not a good climber.” Still, it was Ang’s connection to Pasang that brought him to his association with the trust.
Every morning Ang uses Skype to talk to members of the trust in the United Kingdom and Europe and every evening he calls his mother in Nepal, when it’s morning there. He is busy arranging the trips and projects and keeping track of what has been ordered, who is coming and how much money is available.
The Nepal group has built two primary schools and plans to expand each to include 12th grade, refurbished two monasteries, “to help preserve the culture,” he said, built a hydro-electric power plant, developed eco-friendly stoves, that even create hot water, and placed them in 67 homes, built a water distribution system and runs the medical camps. Ang called this “the most satisfying work” he has ever done.
He’s hoping to register the charity in the United States, so he can help raise funds for the trust here — especially from corporations. There’s so much work to be done, from widening trails to expanding the schools through 12th grade, building the medical clinic and more. When the first light bulb turned on in his hometown, he said people were amazed. They had been using kerosene lanterns and living in the dark for “500 years … some people were calling me a god,” he said, they were that amazed. He assured them he wasn’t.
The hydro-electric plant allows residents of Bumburi to use a small generator to power an electrical grinder for corn, wheat and other grains and a machine that squeezes oil out of mustard seed. People can now take their grain and oil to the market to make money, he said.
At night, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. they switch the belt and turn on the large generator to provide electricity to the homes, he said.
One thing to remember is that everything in that area of Nepal is done by hand, not machinery, “it’s all physical,” Ang said. Construction materials, “including 250 meters of metal pipe for the water system,” the generators and electrical cable were carried in from Katmandu by people, not machines. Large boulders are broken into smaller chunks to build walls, wood has to be harvested to build desks, benches doors and windows and, glass for those windows is brought in from Katmandu — a walk which takes several days for residents of Nepal, longer for westerners, who have become used to the altitude, he said.
It’s not every boss who would let their employee leave for three months then return, but Ang has worked for Amul Modi, who owns the Dunkin Donuts in Florham Park, Chatham Township and Chatham Borough since 2008. Modi said, “For our businesses it is not good, but it’s wonderful for him … He gets to do what he loves.” Modi said he supports Ang’s charitable work and, while the customers miss him, they know he will come back in the fall, because he always does.
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